Business Aviation IncludedCDC Transportation Mask Mandate Applies to Charter, FBOs
Feb. 2, 2021
Passengers on all forms of public transportation into, within or outside of the U.S., including charter operations and at transportation hubs including FBOs, must now wear face masks, according to a new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Private conveyances for personal, non-commercial use are exempt from the rule, meaning passengers of private Part 91 operations are not required to comply.
“This CDC order brings the force of a government mandate to business practices already in place around much of the country,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations. “Aircraft operators and FBO managers should review the order with their personnel to ensure compliance. Having a formal mandate from the federal government should assist operators and FBOs in ensuring compliance with appropriate mask practices.”
The order outlines mask attributes that meet the CDC requirements and masks or other devices, such as neck gaiters, which do not meet the CDC requirements. It also lists certain exemptions to the mask requirement, including when a passenger is eating or drinking, communicating with a passenger who is hearing impaired, children under 2 years of age and passenger with a disability who cannot safely wear a mask.
Crew members are exempt when wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty. The FAA interprets this to include pilots or crewmembers seated at their duty station.
Aircraft operators and transportation hub operators are tasked using “best efforts” to ensure compliance with these requirements. Any person not complying with the mandate should be told noncompliance is a violation of federal law, should not be boarded on an aircraft or should be disembarked as soon as possible.
The order comes on the heels of a recent announcement from the FAA, which increased civil penalties for passengers who interfere, physically assault or threaten a flight crewmember.
In January, the CDC published an order requiring pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all passengers arriving to the U.S. from international locations. Passengers must be tested no more than three days prior to their departure and must provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the aircraft operator. Crewmembers are exempt from this requirement and may print a letter to use as proof of their exemption when deadheading.
for Flights Into the U.S.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a new order requiring pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all passengers arriving to the U.S. from international locations.
Starting Jan. 26, passengers must be tested no more than three days prior to their departure and must provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the aircraft operator.
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WASHINGTON — Following the Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Pfizer, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, the FAA has determined that pilots may receive the vaccine under the conditions of their FAA-issued airman medical certification. FAA Air Traffic Controllers, who are subject to FAA medical clearance, may also receive the vaccine.
To maintain the highest level of safety in the National Airspace System, the agency will require aviation professionals with medical certifications or medical clearances to observe a period of 48 hours following the administration of this vaccine before conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic.
Because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart for maximum effectiveness, this waiting period applies after each dose.
The FAA anticipates taking no additional measures to ensure safety after the initial window for side effects closes. However, the agency’s medical professionals will continuously monitor the initial distribution of the novel vaccine and documented clinical results and will adjust these recommendations as needed.
The FAA will evaluate vaccines from other manufacturers as they receive FDA authorization in the coming weeks and months and will advise pilots and air traffic controllers of any waiting periods required for those vaccines.
The FAA applies similar brief waiting periods after administration of other vaccines, including those for tuberculosis and typhoid.
The FAA encourages Americans to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as authorized by FDA. This policy announcement pertains to a specialized group of FAA-certificated professionals who perform safety-sensitive aviation duties.
For more information, please visit the Medical Certification page at faa.gov.
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